Need help adding staves and routing them to sounds, please!

Dear Anyone.

Thought I wouldn’t need to ask this after finding Guy Michelmore’s Dorico YouTubes - but I’m being really stooopid here!

For starters, he’s getting more templates than I get but that’s irrelevant. What I want to do for now - only had Dorico 2 days! - is create - say - 4 staves and assign them to 4 sounds in HALlion. I’ve learned how to do an empty project, use SHIFT-M for time signature, get one stave with loads of bars going - but I can’t find ‘Add New Stave’ anywhere.

If I wanted to do the above, assign staves to Halion sounds, how do I create extra staves (the first one’s kinda created for you!)

Once I can do that, do I have to use the templates or can I just start with a blank screen, fill it up with staves and route them to VSTs? Couldn’t find ‘Add Stave’ in the online help manual either, so I must be being REALLY dumb!

Anyone help me (when they’ve stopped laughing long enough to use the keyboard!?!)

Yours feeling-pathetically


Create players, not staves. This is a software with human music in mind :wink:

You don’t ‘add staffs’ in Write. Go to the Setup page and create the players you need.

Go to the Play page to set up output routing.

Dear Marc et al.

I’m used to Quick Score Elite level 2 which Dorico SUPERFICIALLY resembles, which is why I got it, but I’m not getting how it thinks and I’m sorry. You’ll have to bear with another stupid question.

In Hallion - that’s the VST I’m sticking with till I got the hang of this thing because it came with it, so it should be the easiest one to understand with it - I choose 2 instruments. Piano and a strings patch. Just to keep this simple. I then went to SETUP and created 2 empty parts. One of them came up labeled ‘Accordion’, I’m not sure why.

In Quick Score Elite, you’d now have 2 staves. One for the piano, one for the strings. Both visible simultaneously. You just add notes to either you want, in real time. If I had 8 sounds in QSE, I’d have 8 staves on the page, one for each sound.

In Dorico, I can’t work out how you see piano and strings on the same page.

Are the 2, 3 and 4 in the column on the left staves assigned to those channels in Halion? Feel free to find me a tutorial somewhere about this, I’ve t ried the HELP system and - er - it doesn’t help!

If they ARE, how do I see them all on the same screen at once, so I can add notes to them with the mouse? I’m disabled and can’t play a keyboard, that’s why I use notation. QSE it just comes up on the screen for you - but QSE’s only 32-bit. This’ll be better, once I understand this part of it. Last question, couldn’t find anything on this either.

If I create an empty player, can I assign the player to any instrument on a HALlion channel? If yes, how do I get him, and all my other players, on the same screen at once so I can put notes on all of them as I go along writing the music?

Yours puzzledly - like I said, if anyone knows a tutorial, tell me about it! -


Chris, as you are a newbie to Dorico I’d highly recommend going to the Dorico channel on YouTube where you’ll find a wealth of excellent tutorials. Also, at the Dorico Blog Resources – Dorico you’ll find some great in depth tutorials to follow.

Dorico is a feature rich program, and once you understand the basis upon which it’s built you’ll find it should fulfil all your musical needs. I was lucky, Dorico is the only score writing program I’ve used, so no need to unlearn anything or adjust to new ways of doing things.

There are many many experts/gurus here on the forum who will help you in your journey to Dorico mastery.

Good luck!

Hi Chris,

I wonder if by approaching this from the playback perspective first, you’re making things hard for yourself! Think about the instruments you want/need first, add those to the project, and then deal with sounds afterwards would be my advice.

There’s a playlist of videos targeted at Dorico SE but useful for all beginners on the YouTube channel here:

If you’re more of a visual learner, you might like our First Steps guide as well.

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Dear Lillie.

Yes, that’s great - but it’s for SOLO piano! The bit I’m not seeing is how to see more than one instrument at a time to add notes to it.

Example. You’ve gone to Halion. You’ve decided you like the piano and a choir sound, so you choose two instances of the piano (top and bottom hands) so you can EQ them separately, and an instance of the choir.

Now you want to write the piece. So you need to see both instances of the piano and the single instance of the choir. In Quick Score Elite, which I’ve used for years and love but it’s never been upgraded to 64 bit, you’d have this…

Piano Top Hand, Piano Bottom Hand (the two Atmos 2s) and Choir (Small Maestro). One stave for each. Nice and easy. Then you just put the notes on the relevant stave with the mouse. If I was using a multitimbral VST like Halion, I’d route one stave to each sound in the VST. They’d still all be neatly displayed on the same screen.

Please, how in the name of God do you do the same thing in Dorico? I’m beginning to think there is no way of doing it, that’s how come all the tutorials are about solo instruments. Surely nobody would invent a notation program where you can’t see 2 or more instruments at once? Would they?? I’ve been through a bunch of tutorials now and they’re all about single instruments. Which is why I’m thinking you can’t do more than one instrument at once in Dorico.

Prove that theory wrong. PLEASE prove it wrong!!!

Yours extremely frustratedly


Have you tried, in Setup mode, simply adding a Choir and a Piano? Then you go to Write mode and start adding notes. When you do it like that, the sounds are handled automatically. You may be assuming something must be much more complicated than it is – perhaps because there is so much to learn, and you’re being given so much material to study.

Please stop fussing about VSTs! (Dorico handles the basics automatically. And they can all be changed later)
Suspend your disbelief (and any previous experience with notation software)

In Dorico, you start with players.
You give them instruments to play.
Dorico creates the score and lets you give instruments notes to play.

(That’s probably just because one at a time is easier to explain…)

Try this:

  1. Start Dorico (the Hub will appear).
  2. Select Orchestral then Classical Orchestra (a score will appear with a load of instruments)
  3. Set your time signature (eg shift-m 4/4) and your key signature (eg shift-k G)
  4. Add some empty bars (shift-b 8) (though you don’t need to do this… Dorico will expand the score as you enter notes)

In about a dozen keystrokes you will have a whole orchestra to play with. Now…

  1. Enter some notes…
  2. Play your notes (hit P for play)

Wonder of wonders, Dorico has created all your instruments for you and played them back! No need to fuss about routing sounds. And as many instruments as you want (assuming you are on Dorico Pro. SE and Elements allow fewer instruments)

In Setup, electric piano and choir.

In Write, electric piano, zero choir.

Where did the choir go!?!?!

Yours respectfully


Clearly you did not add them in the first place!

Whereas your score shows just one player trying to hold a piano and a whole choir. Do you seriously think that is logical???

If you choose Galley view, you will likely see both piano and choir, but for your purposes that is not how you will want to set things up.

At the bottom of the screen, choose the little icon of two people (players) to ask for a new Section (rather than solo) player. Use that to choose the choir reduction. Then open the first Player and delete the choir from the Piano Player. You can drag the Players up or down to change their order in the score.

Switch to Write mode (at the top) to add notes to your staves.

Go to Play and use the Play Menu to select the HALion Playback Template.

At this point you should have been able to add notes in Write mode and hear them play back.

Finally, do not expect Dorico to work like other notation programs; it is a next-generation program with its own logic.

I see the problem: You are adding all the instruments to the same player. Don’t do that; add players, each with one instrument. (You may choose a 2-staff choir as one “instrument”, or individual SATB staves, or whatever. See the screenshots.)

In the first screenshot in post #10, notice the single card under Players says “Electric Piano and Choir”. Adding multiple instruments to one player is for things like Flute doubling Clarinet, or Clarinet in B♭ and A – one person physically switching between instruments. With that kind of setup you will not see music for both in the score unless you enter notes for both in the same bar – which explains why the instruments you added seem to disappear.

For us, knowing how Dorico works and what the buttons do, of course it isn’t logical. But for someone coming from a sequencer environment, I imagine some of this is baffling code: Setup, Write, Engrave, flows, players, instruments, ensembles – all terms with specific definitions in Dorico. It says “Full score” in 3 different places, all signifying different things. They don’t explain what they are or what you’re supposed to do with them.

But Chris, I assure you, once you understand what these various controls do, setting up a score in Dorico and copying music into it is fast and efficient and painless.

Mea culpa.

Apologies, I picked up the wrong link so the video ended up separated from its playlist, the following video in which shows how to add a second instrument to the piano and illustrates the core principle in Dorico of adding players.

Here’s the link to the playlist as a whole – the first two set-up videos you can probably safely skip.